Does Country of Origin Affect the Value of Gold Bullion Bars or Coins?

A man called us on our toll-free number recently and asked a question that we have heard many times over the years:

“Is it correct to assume that it’s best to buy gold bullion bars that were made in countries like England and Switzerland? After all, those countries are known for quality.”

Photo of Gold bullion bars from the UK for Gold Refiners blog post on bullion country of origin. Credit: Sakramir/iStock.

The short answer to that question is that gold is gold, no matter whether it comes from Australia, England, China, Canada, South Africa or anywhere else. But there is more to it than that, because not all gold investment items are made of pure 24k gold. That is especially true if you are investing in gold coins, not bullion bars, because many of them contain small amounts of other metals that have been added to make them more durable. That explains why some popular investment coins, like the American Eagle and the South African Krugerrand, are actually made of 22k gold – only .9167pure.

Interesting fact: The American Eagle (the most popular investment coin) and the South African Krugerrand are only 22k gold. Yet because they each weigh 1.09 troy ounces, the result is that they each contain exactly one troy ounce of gold. It’s interesting how they made that happen, right?

Also interesting: The U.S. Mint, which makes the 22k American Eagle coin, also makes the 24k Buffalo coin, which is .9999 pure gold. So remember that one mint can make coins with varying karat ratings.

Still, there are some minted coins – including the Canadian Maple Leaf, and the Australian Kangaroo – that are made of 24k gold. If you’re investing in bullion bars, you will be buying 24k gold that is at least .9999 percent pure.

Doesn’t Some Agency Monitor the Quality of Gold Coins and Bullion Bars to Keep Consumers Safe?

Unfortunately, no government agency is vigilantly making sure that every gold coin or bullion bar that reaches the market is genuine. That explains why a number of buyers still buy counterfeit coins and bars every year. Some counterfeit bars, by the way, can look very convincing.

There are a number of “home grown” techniques that people have developed to identify counterfeit items. One is to flip a coin in the air to see if it makes a “clean” ringing sound while it spins, like gold does. Another is to touch a bullion bar to a magnet; if the bullion is attracted to the magnet, it has an iron inner core and is counterfeit. (Gold, you remember, is a non-ferrous metal that doesn’t attract magnets.) But down-and-dirty testing methods like those are imprecise, to say the least. The best safeguards offered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are to deal with a reputable dealer and to have all items examined by a qualified appraiser before you buy.

How Pure Are Popular Gold Bullion Bars and Coins?

Here is some information about popular bullion bars and coin investments that you might be considering. Please note that this information is for informational purposes only.  

Gold Refiner's Gold Bullion chart showing country of origin. 

* Some special decorative and commemorative coins from these mints contain smaller amounts
of gold; carefully review information from the mint or dealer before investing.

Why It Pays to Buy Larger Bullion Coins and Bars

Today’s post has thrown a lot of information your way. But here’s a little more. If you analyze the numbers, you will discover that it pays to buy larger bullion bars, because the cost per ounce of the gold that they contain is lower than the cost per ounce that you will pay if you buy smaller bars. (In other words, you’ll do better if you buy one 100 gram bar than you will do it you buy five 20 gram bars.)

There are several reasons why this is the case, but the most important is that you pay a “premium” when you buy smaller coins and bars. Premium costs vary for coins and bars, depending on their size, popularity, demand, and other factors. The thing to remember is that smaller bars and coins are easier to sell, so they demand a higher premium and therefore cost more per ounce to buy.

Have More Questions about Gold Bullion? Call Us at 800-426-2344 Today

We’re here to help you understand, refine, and profit from your gold holdings. Call today, mention this post, and ask about free or reduced-cost shipping of your gold to us for testing.

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